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Prineville Reservoir at lowest level on record; flow into Crooked River set to drop dramatically

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bureau of Reclamation)

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Starting next Wednesday, water releases from Prineville Reservoir will be decreased from the current flow rate of about 180 cubic feet per second down to only about 10 cfs as downstream irrigation demands decrease, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Friday.

"The public should expect much lower than normal water levels in the Crooked River following the decrease, which could potentially impact recreational activities," the agency said. "Multiple years of drought conditions is the major contributing factor."

Prineville Reservoir is currently only 12% full and is at the lowest level on record, BOR said. Following the drop in releases, the reservoir will stabilize at a level of around 11% full.

Bureau of Reclamation civil engineer Peter Cooper said, "The reduction of release is down to 10 cubic feet per second coming out of the reservoir next week. It's lower than we normally have. We reduce releases down to 50 cubic per second following the irrigation season." 

The BOR said this past season had the lowest snowpack on record, going back to 1980. This year, all the storage in the reservoir is for irrigation purposes.

For current water storage information, visit https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/destea.html. Here's how it looked as of Friday:

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit their website at www.usbr.gov and follow on Twitter @USBR.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics
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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

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